In T20 cricket, not all days are good, not every time do things go in your favour, and literally anything can happen. The more we look at today’s game between the Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals, the more we realise this ruthless fact. You’d reckon a strong batting side that as goes deep as Rajasthan Royals could easily chase a target a 155. But, it wasn’t to be today in Abu Dhabi.
The day started well at the toss, as we chose to field first, with DC captain Rishabh Pant admitting that he would’ve gone with the same decision too. We bowled perfectly in the Powerplay, restricting Delhi to 36/2 as young guns Kartik Tyagi and Chetan Sakariya scalped one wicket apiece. With openers Dhawan & Shaw sent packing, runs were hard to come by for Delhi, as we stuck to our plans.
A big plus was that we kept our fielding really tight on the whole. In fact, Sanju’s stumping to remove Shreyas Iyer was a great display of reflexes and athleticism. And while a fine cameo by Shimron Hetmyer briefly threatened to break the shackles for DC, enough can’t be said for Mustafizur Rahman, who once again delivered the goods on the day. He finished with figures of 2/22 from 4 overs, and continues to have a find season, enhancing his reputation as one of the most consistent performers at IPL 2021.
Sanju later mentioned that he was confident in our ability to close out the chase. "I thought the total was chaseable but we lost too many early wickets and weren\"t able to get any momentum in our chase. We might consider changes for the next game, but it is too early now. We have to remove all emotion before that,” Sanju said on air.
With a batting lineup that boasts of talents like Liam Livingstone, Yashasvi Jaiswal, David Miller, Mahipal Lomror, Rahul Tewatia, and Sanju himself, one would expect us to knock off 155, but it turned out to be one of those days when nothing seemed to click for our batters. The wicket in Abu Dhabi too slowed down evidently during the chase, making it even harder.
We were never able to get in the groove or provide any impetus to the chase, as we lost Liam and Yashasvi on consecutive balls to Avesh Khan and Nortje. David Miller walked in earlier than expected on his return to the side, but he departed soon after, charging and missing the ball completely in Ashwin’s first over.
At the end of the Powerplay, things looked bleak with 21/3 on the board, and the fact that we celebrated our first boundary in the innings in the 7th over when Samson reverse swept one off Ashwin’s bowling, shows how tough things were for the batters. Even as Sanju stuck to his guns at one end and tried his best to revive the game, he kept losing partners at regular intervals and failed to form a stabilising partnership.
Sanju got to his 50 in 39 balls, but the fact that the required rate had already touched the roof meant that we required a miracle to pull off the chase. Suddenly, a target of 155 seemed gigantic as we needed 64 off the last 4 overs. Tewatia was still at the crease with Sanju, but it wasn’t to be his day as he held out at the boundary in the 18th over. Shamsi joined the skipper in the middle, and despite a couple of more big shots from our main man, we ended our 20 overs 33 runs short of DC while he finished on 70* (53).
The defeat surely was a missed opportunity as we could’ve gone 3rd in the table, and hopefully will only be a hiccup along the way as we move forward. Our next hurdle to cross will be Kane Williamson’s SRH, in Dubai just two days later on September 27. Onwards and upwards we move. Halla Bol.
What did think of our captain Sanju Samson’s knock again Delhi Capitals? Send in your views on Twitter at @rajasthanroyals or to me @cricketpun_duh